The Nairobi County Government has commenced the construction of the Ruai Rehabilitation Centre that aims to resettle street families currently living in the central business district (CBD).
The 40 acre parcel, set aside in Ruai last year, will see the first phase of construction of the centre that is expected to host 1,400 children when completed this December.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said the initial phase of the Sh150 million project will comprise an Early Childhood Development (ECDE) block, ablution block, dining area and hostels.
“The phase one of the rehabilitation centre will be completed in December this year, before we embark on phase two which will also have hostels for both boys and girls, multi purpose floor, a vocational training centre for the provision of Masonry, carpentry and mechanical skills training and a counselling facility." said Dr Kidero in a statement.
He said that the county government would ensure that the children are able to access formal learning and that those above 16 years of age would be trained on vocational skills, adding that the planned educational centers will be modelled on the Starehe Boys Centre and School in Nairobi.
The rehabilitation centre will also have a medical clinic to ensure that those with health issues are taken care of.
“Beside the medical team, there will be psycho-social workers and other experts on hand to support the families and children that may have challenges arising from their tough life on the streets,” said the Governor.
Street families have taken over parts of the capital in the last two years with one of their most popular grounds being the Globe Cinema roundabout where they have made a pedestrian tunnel their den.
Many of them can also be found near the Muthurwa and Wakulima markets.
Last year there were media reports that City Hall was planning a major operation to get rid of the street children ahead of US president Barack Obama's visit.
The County government however denied that the planned relocation of street families was being done because of the American leader's visit, saying it was part of the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan launched earlier by Dr Kidero.